Manufacturing for the Learjet, once regarded as aircraft that was very popular as a luxury private jet for the super-rich, will be discontinued after the last of the planes is built in 2021, said the manufacturer of plane Bombardier
With the wealthy customers – getting wealthier, starting to demand even larger and more comfortable private planes for carrying them through larger distances around the world, there has been a dwindling of the sale of new Learjets.
The designing of the Learjet, which was created and designed by the United States based inventor Bill Lear, was based on the design of a Swiss fighter aircraft. This once luxury aircraft for private use was capable of carrying up to eight people in comparative luxury. However the plane did not allow its passengers to stand up in the relatively small cabin of the jet.
Since the first Learjet 23 flew in 1963, the company has so far made about 3,000 of the planes. The Learjet company was acquired by Bombardier in 1990. The owner has now announced discontinuation of the model to allow the company to focus more on its other business jet models that it makes – those of the Global and Challenger series.
The decision for discontinuation of the manufacturing was made as a part of a cost-cutting plan aimed at making a saving of $400m a year by 2023 which will also include shedding of about 1,600 jobs, said Eric Martel, the chief executive of the Canadian manufacturer in an interaction with analysts.
“Passengers all over the world love to fly this exceptional aircraft and count on its unmatched performance and reliability. However, given the increasingly challenging market dynamics, we have made this difficult decision to end Learjet production,” he said.
Support and maintenance of the existing Learjets would however be continued by the company, Bombardier said. The company would also be offering upgrades to avionics and interiors at the Learjet factory in Wichita in the US evcen afte the closure of the production line of the planes.
In 2020, delivery of the business jet was reduced by 20 per cent at only 114 aircrafts. With the increase in demand for private jet travel during the pandemic when most commercial airlines had to shut down because of quarantine measures and closure of trans border flights, the price of the larger private jets on the second hand market also came down which had made it even more difficult for the company to sell the jets whose new models are priced at $10m-$14m.
The end for the six decade long legacy of the Learjet will be followed by the end of life time for a slightly younger and equally famous but a significantly larger American model – the Boeing 747. Starting in 2022, the production of its jumbo jet would be stopped by the company, Boeing announced last year as global airlines such as the British Airways are retiring the planes because of the fast reduction in demand for long-haul flights.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)